And They’re Off!

For the past three years the top high limit players in the world have made their way to the Amazon Room at the Rio for the $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event. With five games in play many consider it to be the determining tournament of who really is the world’s top player.

In 2006 the event was won by the man many predicted would in fact come out on top. David “Chip” Reese had gone 24 years since his last bracelet, but that didn’t stop many of the game’s legends from picking him to take it all.

“They asked me who I thought was going to win and, of course, I said me,” joked T.J. Cloutier, who went on to finish fifth that year. “But I said if it’s not going to be me, it’s going to be Chip. And this was before it started, long before we’d all made the final table.”

Reese died December 4, 2007 and the poker world mourned the passing of the player many considered the greatest cash game player ever. To honor the first champion of the event World Series of Poker management decided to create the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, and award it to the winner of this event each year.

Combine the trophy with the special edition gold bracelet from Corum and the top player’s find themselves a little more motivated. For some who called Reese a friend or a hero though, it makes this tournament the one to win.

“This year it’s something special extra out there,” said Erick Lindgren, who considered Reese both a friend and a player worth looking up to. “The whole time I’ll be thinking about Chip and what he would have done, which is patience. He was very patient and I’m going to play every hand and every street as well as I can.”

The trophy isn’t the only item in the room honoring Reese. Doyle Brunson, who considered Reese to be the closest of his close friends, found his own personal way of remembering Reese at the tables.

“See this cross here,” Brunson said, holding out a small gold cross on a chain around his neck. “His ashes are in here, so he’s with me.”

A total of 133 players are currently entered in the event with registration still open until the end of the second level. Follow all the live updates and chip counts via